Set up a Supershrimp tank! Step by step instructions

TANK/CONTAINER

Supershrimp are the perfect shrimp for a true nano-tank. A 1/2 gallon container is large enough for a group of 10-20 shrimp. Larger containers can hold more shrimp, especially once your Supershrimp start breeding!

FILTER

Absolutely no filter needed or necessary! We have found that keeping Supershrimp without a filter produces superior results when it comes to keeping the shrimp healthy and happy so they start breeding. This may sound counterintuitive so some, but 13 years of keeping and breeding these awesome creatures has proven the validity of this method. Also, pretty much all filters cause “salt creep” which are accumulations of unsightly salt crystals hanging down from the top and sides of your tank.

HEATER

No heater is needed or wanted. In fact, in really small tanks you can “cook” your shrimp if the heater malfunctions. Supershrimp have a wide temperature tolerance. They can live at pretty much any room temperature (lower 50s to 80s) but do best (for breeding purposes) at temperatures from the mid 60s to mid 70s.

SALINITY

Supershrimp need brackish water to survive and thrive. They do well in water with a wide range of salinities, and I have kept and bred this shrimp at salinities ranging between 7-23 ppt (~1.005-1.016 sg). However, you MUST use salt sold specifically for reef tanks, not just table salt or “aquarium salt” (which will kill your shrimp).

FOOD

Supershrimp eat almost anything. Fish food (flakes) that is allowed to sink to the bottom is perfect. Special care should be taken to make sure that the shrimp are fed very sparingly once the tank is established and has algae growing in it. Once every 3 to 8 weeks is enough. You do NOT have to worry at all that your shrimp will ever starve. These animals can live literally for months without food with no ill effect. In between feedings the shrimp feed on algae and bacteria that grow on all surfaces of your tank. That’s actually their main food.

WATER CHANGES

Water changes are NOT needed nor wanted for this species. Our animals have been breeding in water that has not been changed in many years (in fact, I have tanks that haven’t had a water change in a decade). However, it is important to top off with distilled/reverse osmosis (RO) freshwater periodically to replace water lost to evaporation.

Equipment and Supplies:

  • Tank

  • Reef or Marine Salt (not “aquarium salt” or table salt!)

  • Distilled or RO water

  • Lamp or Tank Light (LED is best). This is optional if you have enough indirect daylight.

  • Substrate, rocks

  • Electrical or Appliance Timer (for the light)

  • Source of Calcium Carbonate (i.e Limestone, coral pieces, crushed coral, or egg shells)

  • Fish food (pellets or flakes)

  • Snails or Macroalgae or “Supershrimp Mossballs” (optional)*

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Buy a tank

    Literally any type of see-through container is fine: glass, acrylic, plastic, large vases – doesn’t really matter. It will need a light source, but it can be one that comes with the tank or one you supply separately, just as long as it is powerful enough to allow algae to grow. Alternatively, you can place the tank somewhere where it receives indirect daylight. It doesn’t even have to be much light. Just enough for algae to grow. Make sure your tank is not in direct sunlight, as small tanks can overheat very easily. A heater is NOT required. Ambient room temperatures (50s to 80s) are just fine for these shrimp.

  2. Buy Salt

    Purchase the smallest bag of “marine” or “reef” salt from your favorite pet store or online mail order place. NEVER use “aquarium salt” or any other salt. You *will* run into huge problems if use anything but reef/marine salt.

  3. Get distilled or reverse osmosis water (RO)

    This is available from most local grocery stores (usually a gallon of RO costs $0.25-$1, so really cheap). DO NOT USE TAP WATER!! Tap water is full of chlorine, chloramines, ammonia and other bad stuff that kills these animals.

  4. Prepping your water

    Make sure to prepare your brackish water in a separate bucket. Supershrimp like water that has about 1/3 to 1/2 the salinity of reef water. Examine the directions on your reef salt container, and use about 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of salt directed for the volume of water you prepare. Every brand of salt has its own mixing instructions, so make sure you use the instructions specific to your brand. Although not necessary, you can purchase a hydrometer ($8-$14 usually), or a refractometer ($25 – $40) to measure exact salinity.

  5. Fill your aquarium

    Add your prepared brackish water . We also recommend adding a substrate (usually sand) to the tank, to a depth of about ½ inch. The substrate provides a surface for bacteria and algae growth, and brackish water snails like to burrow in if they are added. Any type of substrate will work fine, although we do prefer sand. Your tank will also need one or more chicken-nugget sized calcium carbonate rocks (coral, limestone, or even egg-shells) to buffer the water and prevent it from becoming acidic. Alternatively, you can spread a small amount of crushed coral on the substrate. The exact amount doesn’t really matter as long as some limestone is present.

  6. Set the light cycle

    If you have an artificial light, you will want the light on your tank to automatically run on a 12 hours on / 12 hours off light cycle, which is usually accomplished using a simple timer.

  7. Let the tank run for 2-4 weeks with the light/dark cycle running

    During this time, algae and other microorganisms in the tank will establish and form a stable ecosystem that will allow your shrimp to thrive. You can further help your tank establish a healthy microbial ecosystem by adding snails and Supershrimp Macroalgae, or Supershrimp Mossballs (available on PetShrimp.com). When you add these species you also introduce the beneficial bacteria that come on them and in the water from our breeding tanks, which act as a cleanup and nutrient export “crew.” Macroalgae and Supershrimp Mossballs can be added immediately, however it’s best to wait a week or two before adding snails. The tank is ready for shrimp when you see the first signs of brown or green algae growth. No need to test any parameters! No test kits required.

  8. Purchase your Supershrimp!

    By purchasing captive-bred shrimp instead of wild-caught you contribute towards the continued survival of these incredible creatures in nature. We are the only commercial source of captive-bred Supershrimp in the world. The habitat of these shrimp are truly threatened. Please do not contribute to the continued exploitation of this species by purchasing wild-caught animals.

  9. Purchase any type of fish food

    Pellets and flakes work equally well as long as you make sure that the flakes sink to the bottom where the shrimp can get them. Only feed a tiny amount of food (equivalent of maybe one small flake) every three to eight weeks. The shrimp should finish the food within about an hour or two. If your shrimp don’t finish within an hour or two, or they don’t even go for the food, take out any uneaten food and wait another 3-8 weeks. There is nothing wrong with the food, it’s just that the shrimp find enough food (like algae) in their aquarium and don’t need more. DO NOT OVERFEED! Overfeeding is the number one cause of death!

  10. Replace water lost to evaporation

    Add RO or distilled water whenever the level of your tank drops by more than about 10%. You do not need to add any more salt because the salt stays in the tank, and the evaporation causes the remaining water to be saltier. How often you need to replace water will depend on the size and shape of your tank.

  11. Enjoy!

If you have any further questions before or after you purchase your shrimp, please join our discussion forum and ask your questions in the “Supershrimp” section of the forum, so that everyone in the community can help and contribute their experiences.